Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Replaying Phantom Hourglass on the Wii U

Last night I completed Phantom Hourglass on the Wii U Virtual Console. This is the fourth time that I have beaten this game and the third time, where I fully completed it for 100%, which means 25:00 Best Time, all Heart Containers, Spirit Gems, Fish, Treasures, Ship Parts and so on. Last thing to do was getting drunk at Beedle's until I achieved V.I.P. status.

Before that I was stuck getting the Golden Chimney and the Regal Ring, which took a while. At the end I even abused the Restore Points of the Virtual Console to get the job done. With the Regal Ring it didn't really work, when I won treasures at the archery minigame, it would give me everything but the Regal Ring. But then I made a Restore Point right before saving Nyave in the Southwestern Sea, where I got "lucky" eventually. With Ship Parts in the archery minigame it didn't work as easy though, because even after scoring 2000 points, it seems like there's only a limited pool of random of ship parts, which you can win at a time. So, the Restore Points only help a little. Also, the game has these phases, where it hands you new Ship Parts one after another in small bursts, probably after getting a certain number of duplicates or so. But while playing the archery minigame I usually keep getting the same junk, until suddenly the missing parts were popping in. And by using Restore Points you would miss these bursts.

However, like in my 2nd playthrough I was stuck with missing one final ship part, but at least it was nice that it was a golden part. That way I didn't lose motivation and I used to be a little more creative with building my ship. For example I used the Tropical Ship in combination with the other gold parts, which looks very nice, a lot better than with the actual golden hull, because of the nice grass.

Needless to say that I've played the archery minigame A LOT again...

But it plays very nicely on the Wii U GamePad, if you hold it sideways. I sat in an armchair, put my left arm on the armrest and the GamePad on my belly. This way I could play comfortably. I even got a 2400 score, which is pretty good, though I think my highscore on the Nintendo DS was 2500 points. I need to check this.

In 2011 I replayed the game on a rented copy, because I didn't want to delete any of the completed savegames on my original copy. (see my post here). I didn't complete the game at the time, because I didn't get to keep it anyway, but I took note of the treasure and ship parts values. Interestingly enough I got the exact same values again this time:

  • Pink Coral / Bright Parts: 1500
  • White Pearl Loop / Iron Parts: 50
  • Black Pearl Loop / Stone Parts: 800
  • Zora Scale / Vintage Parts: 800
  • Goron Amber / Demon Parts: 50
  • Ruto Crown / Tropical Parts: 50
  • Helmaroc Feather / Tourist Parts: 50

Was Recht ist, kommt wieder! This might have been coincidence, but maybe the random generation of the values is based on your name. I think, I also used "Tourian" on the rented copy, but I'm not sure anymore. In any case, I got the chance to finally complete the same "setting" and it's quite the powerful combination. There are no 150 Rupee values, but two sets worth 800 Rupees and two sets worth 1500 Rupees. You can make a lot of money here and I kept getting the stone and vintage parts all the time, until I couldn't see them anymore.

I was a lot more lucky with the fish this time though. I got a Stowfish quite early on a Loovar and the first swordfish shadow, which I had encountered, actually brought up the Neptoona! However, this wasn't until after the end of the game, because I first thought that the swordfish shadows would appear right after getting the Big Catch Lure. But you have to find a Rusty Swordfish on a normal shadow first... I kept wondering for the entire game, why no swordfish would show up, but it was actually my mistake. And that's why I was one Heart Container short, when I faced Bellum... Not that this makes any difference, but I simply like to be done with everything, before I got to the final boss.

Like the last time I've replayed this game, I decided to collect the 3rd and 4th Sea Chart in one go, but unlike the last time it went really smoothly. I got about 10 minutes left, when I reached the end. I also used my Speed Guide to get the 25:00 Best Time without any effort.

Now... there are good reasons, why you'd want to get the 3rd and 4th Sea Charts at the same time. One is that you don't have to return to the Temple of the Ocean King until after you've got the Phantom Sword. The other is that it lets you explore the entire 2nd half of the game freely on your own terms. You can play the three temples in any order, which leaves six possible ways of beating the game. And these are the orders I did in the past:

  • Ice Temple → Goron Temple → Mutoh's Temple
  • Mutoh's Temple → Ice Temple → Goron Temple
  • Ice Temple → Mutoh's Temple → Goron Temple

This time I actually decided to start with the Goron Temple for once. Then I went for Mutoh's Temple and for the first time I've played the Ice Temple last. This leaves the Grappling Hook for the end, where you will revisit most islands to find treasures with this tool, while Hammer and Bombchus are only useful in the Temple of the Ocean King. Because of this I previously preferred to get the Grappling Hook early, but it also has a nice touch to keep it for the end.

I probably won't replay the game for a fifth time, until Nintendo releases a remake, though I'm pretty certain that the Nintendo DS games will get remakes in the next generation after playing this. The graphics are extremely outdated and there's so much room for improvement. But I will talk about this in separate posts. Anyway, if that happens, I will go through Mutoh's Temple → Goron Temple → Ice Temple next. The intended order of Goron Temple → Ice Temple → Mutoh's Temple I will save for last, hehe. Only boring people play that.

But overall it was enjoyable to replay the game on the Virtual Console, though it gave my screen protector something to do for the first time. Before playing Phantom Hourglass there was nothing on it, but now it got quite some tiny scratches... Can't help it, but I have to say that those are probably the only Zelda games, where I don't like cutting grass. You rarely get hearts out of them and swiping the touchscreen like that isn't really good for it. And because of this, if Nintendo ever does remakes, I certainly want optional button controls, which should work fine with analog sticks or slide pads. I was a fan of the touchscreen controls back then, but after playing Tri Force Heroes it just felt weird.

I also had issues at first with understanding, how the internal clock works now on the Virtual Console to find the Masked Beedle and so on. You actually have to reset the game in order to synchronize the clock with the Wii u again. If you're using Return and Restore Points, they will have the time stored, when you left them. So, if I leave the game via the HOME menu now and come back in a week, it still thinks it's the 22nd December. Keep that in mind, if you ever want to play the Nintendo DS Zelda games on the Wii U.

That's it for Phantom Hourglass. I'm not sure, how Spirit Tracks will go... I won't be able to play it for some time and I got to the Ocean Lands, but the microphone on the Wii U doesn't really work for this game. Playing the Spirit Flute is pure pain...

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